NOV 1st, 1841INCIDENT AT N'HARO PASS
Reports have been received of an unprovoked attack yesterday on Her Majesty's troops in the Origawn Territory. It seems that while on a tour of FTC trading posts, Lord Walts received a terse note declaring that the Faraway troops that accompanied him would not be allowed to proceed. Disdaining to reply let alone turn back, the column proceeded. Our correspondent on the Frontier has posted this report:
It was about 10 in the morning when our column, under the immediate command of Colonel Stoneforte, Brevet Brigadier, entered N'haro Pass. Bearing the previous night's warning in mind, the experienced Frontier Fighters of the FTC DG's Bodyguard led the way, scanning every rock and hollow where a Bushwhacker might lurk. As we approached the narrowest point of the pass, the signal was given to halt and scouts were sent forward towards several large clumps of lichen adorning a ledge which overlooks the road. The crack of rifles and several puffs of smoke was the response. Our way was to be challenged!
Like a well oiled machine, the Bodyguards fell back as the Wye Fusiliers, the famed Green Tigers, rushed forward and deployed, their new colours flying proudly. In no time at all the ruffians had been driven back and the column proceeded past the sad site of the bodies of 4 young soldiers, lying by the side of the road.
The Wye Fusiliers drive the ambushers from Lichen Point while the Voyagers scout up towards a patch of trees, exposing several dummy cards.
As we pushed forward through the pass, the Belmont Fusiliers or Buffs, doubling forward to shield the coach and wagon, I heard some of the experienced officers mutter about the risk about getting so tightly bunched should there be more Oberhilsers in the vicinity. I know there was some muttering about the clubs about the army's most junior Brigade commander being given such an important task but he is a man cast in the same mold as General Turner (literally- ed) and "fortes fortuna adiuuat".
The crowded pass.
For awhile, it seemed that this dozen or so scruffy frontiersmen (actually it was probably only 10, ed) were all that we faced. The bridge over the South Sloy River could be seen ahead and the road to Roslin and safety beckoned. Suddenly from a ridge ahead, more shots rang out and the grey clad forms of Volunteer rifles could be seen. The Bodyguard had been taking a terrible toll from sniping and that was no ground for a cavalry charge so they dismounted and forming a skirmish line, returned fire.
More foes appear!With Corporal Blogger and his fellow Horse Guard riding ahead and a column of the Buffs pushing forward on our right, we felt no threat but the carriage ground to a halt while the situation was sorted. Suddenly the road ahead filled with troops,the pale blue of Oberhilse regulars and the wild troopers of the infamous Frontier Horse.
The trap is well sprung!
It was a bad time for us to lose the initiative! Before they could react, the skirmish line of the Body Guards was ridden down. The Horse Guards who had posted themselves as a reserve, found themselves too close to the action and were forced to draw swords and spur forwards, being caught up in the precipitate retreat of the FTC troopers. With their blood up, the enemy troopers spurred forward in pursuit, scattering the Buffs before they could deploy from their march column and surrounding the Director General's coach.
The Frontier Horse seize the carriage containing the Director General, his wife and Duke Peter.
All was chaos but Colonel Stoneforte rose to the occasion! Quickly rallying the Buffs, he seized the initiative and led them forward in a wild charge before the Frontier Horse could drive away their prize. True to his last breath, Corporal Blogger spurred forward to join them and rescue those whose safety had been placed in his care. At the same time, Stoneforte ordered the Green Tigers to drive off the enemy skirmishers who were creeping close on the flank. With a brave huzzah the red coated troops stormed forward.
Colonel Stoneforte rallies the Buffs and gives the order to Charge!
Too little, too late.
Anxious to prove themselves the Black Horse pressed forward from the rear, but this was no parade ground. The wagon, which had been saved by the charge of the Buffs, still blocked the pass so the big black horses were urged up over the ragged ridge. By the time they had reformed on the flat, the carriage and the enemy horsemen were gone. In their place stood a resolute square of blue clad infantry while the rifle fire from the hill swept the road. For a moment it looked like the horsemen would throw themselves onto the square but they were the bulwark behind which the army must rally and there was still the vital paychest and records to protect.
Lord Walts confronts his captor, Brigadier Zinn.
The mood around the campfires that night was bleak indeed, the groans of the wounded and maimed mixed with the laments of the men for their failure in the face of the enemy. There was the usual post battle chatter about how the Buffs should have advanced in an attack column, how the carriages ought to have been held back till the way was secured and how we needed more Riflemen on the frontier as musket armed line infantry are no match for riflemen in rough ground. I even heard arguments that the day was really a draw because the Oberhilsers didn't get their hands on Ol' Betsy the steam tractor nor on the gold, but in truth we were bound for Roslin and none of us made it, least of it the Lady and Lords that we had been charged to protect..
The gloom was only slightly lightened when a messenger appeared out of the darkness. Colonel Stoneforte, his wounds bandaged, called the men around and announced that word was received that the Director and Duke Peter were safe and sound and were the guests of the Oberhilse commander for tonight but would rejoin us in the morning.